On Saturday, February 16, the ‘Biggest Chill’ in western Kentucky hits the water once again at Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park. Close to 1,000 had souls are expected to head to the park and take a chilly dip in Kentucky Lake.
This year marks the 10th Anniversary for the Western Kentucky Polar Plunge and Polar 5K! Over the past 10 years, western Kentucky has raised nearly $800,0000 for Special Olympics Kentucky (SOKY), which directly impacts the local delegations in Calloway and Marshall Counties. Since 2009, the number of athletes has tripled and continues to grow.
“Because it's our 10th anniversary, we are planning to partner with local law enforcement for a torch run from Murray to Gilbertsville,” Laura Miller, West Regional Director of Special Olympics Kentucky told me. “Officers will run 33 miles carrying our lit torch on Friday February 15 to help us celebrate our 10th year. They can register on our WKY Polar Plunge website and pledge to raise at least $100 per for our athletes.”
The Polar Plunge is one of the most unique fundraisers around. It works just like a walk-a-thon with Polar Bears raising a ‘bear’ minimum of $75 ($50 for Junior Polar Bears) to earn the right to plunge. Every Polar Bear receives an official Polar Plunge T-shirt and Polar Bear Club Certificate, but participants who raise more money can earn even better rewards. The top three fundraisers will be entered into a drawing for a $1,000 travel certificate from AAA Travel.
You can plunge, run, spectate, donate or volunteer. All funds raised go to support 8,900 Special Olympics Athletes in Kentucky and all donations are tax-deductible. It’s a great way for everyone - individuals, organizations and businesses - to get involved in supporting Special Olympics Athletes.
“Even if you aren't participating we would love to see you come out to the event,” Miller added. “Meet our athletes, and see what Special Olympics is all about.”
Costume Contest & 5K race
If you really want to get into the spirit of the event join the annual costume contest - always a highlight of one of the craziest events of the winter.
Prior to the Plunge there will also be the third annual running of the Polar 5k with runners and walkers traveling one of the most beautiful race courses in Kentucky across the top of the dam and along the lakefront.
Polar Plunge Triple Crown Challenge
The Triple Crown isn’t just for horses - that’s right, participants have the chance to get into the water not once, but twice, in addition to running the 5k! These overachievers will begin their day off by running the 5k. Then, they will enter the water twice - once from the dock, and another time by running in through the beach!
Those who complete the challenge will get a separate medal and will be crowned a “Triple Crown Champion”. They will get a special photo op on the golden throne with a golden scepter. This fun challenge was a lot of fun and very successful last year.
Too Chicken to Plunge?
There will be people who cannot jump into ice cold water for a variety of reasons. No worries! The plunge has options for people who can’t brave the temperatures. Persons can register as a Virtual Plunger.
Sponsors Make It Happen!
The presenting sponsor is Peel & Holland. Other sponsors include KDV, 96.9/West Kentucky Star, WPSD, Subway, Murray Electric System, America’s Mattress, Benton Electric Supply, Hutson Ag, Lake Chem FCU, McDonalds, Murray Transit, Primary Care-Murray, Regions Bank, Taylor Bus Sales, Imes Funeral Home, Womack-Carter, Culver’s, 1st KY Bank, CFSB, Heritage Bank, Jerry & Janice Harrington, Murray Bank, Pella, Cellar Door, West Kentucky Surgery, Murray Printing, Polaris of Benton, Dairymans, Parcell’s, Progress Rail, and Cheri Theater.
Miller encourages people to both participate in the Polar Plunge challenge and financially support Special Olympics. “It is more than one day of running around a track,” she explained. “Special Olympics is a movement that changes the lives of everyone who is fortunate enough to be touched by it.”